The West

Chevron has upset Ashburton shire council.

A Pilbara shire has claimed oil and gas giant Chevron went "behind its back" to renege on a deal to house in Onslow workers on the $30 billion Wheatstone project.

Amid rancorous scenes in State Parliament yesterday, the Shire of Ashburton said it had been let down by Chevron and the Barnett Government.

It emerged this week that Chevron had backed out of a commitment to build a workers' camp in the Pilbara town and instead house them on-site at a gas plant 25km away.

The move had the blessing of the Premier, prompting an extraordinary outburst from Nationals leader and senior Government minister Terry Redman, in which he said Premier Colin Barnett had been "captured" by his links to Chevron.

Under fire over the matter yesterday, Mr Barnett said workers would have to travel too far to and from work if the camp went ahead in Onslow.

Shire president Kerry White said the decision by Chevron and Mr Barnett left Onslow significantly worse off.

"It's pretty bad what they (Chevron) have done to the town, what they're doing to the shire," she said. "They had agreements with the shire and they're just breaking them.

"And now they're going behind the shire's back to the Premier . . . so they save themselves a lot of money.

"Everything is about them. Nothing is about the community or the shire.

"It's pretty sad, actually."

A Chevron spokesman hit back, saying the company had invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the town and its facilities.

"As part of the Wheatstone project, we have committed $250 million for critical and social infrastructure, which incorporates upgrading community facilities, education and health services, and road, water and power infrastructure," he said.

The spokesman said Chevron was building 50 houses in the town and supported other developments.

North West MLA Vince Catania said Chevron had broken a promise and effectively turned its back on Onslow.

"I am extremely disappointed at the poor corporate behaviour displayed by Chevron," he said.

"The Onslow community expected and deserves more."

The West Australian

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